Nathaphop Boonthongtho, director of Patong Thanoen Samakkhi School in Bua Yai, was accompanied by his lawyer when he arrived at Bua Yai station at 10:15am to hear police charges of depriving a girl under 15 years of parental care for obscene purposes and defaming a woman who exposed the scandal.
The embattled 51-year-old smiled as he reported to the police investigators, appearing in response to his second summons to acknowledge the charges.
Nathaphop later refused to answer media questions after emerging from the interrogation room.
He said he was not well and would testify in court.
Col Arkhom Boonsod, chief of the Bua Yai Police, said the suspect reported to acknowledge three charges. The first involves sexual misconduct against minor, the second conducting an obscene act against two minors, and the third defamation against Paiwan Haithong, one of those girl’s parents.
He was released on bail without requiring surety. Investigators have asked Nathaphop to report to them again on March 5 for further questioning, the Bua Yai police chief said.
The embattled school director faces a severe disciplinary charge for gross disciplinary violation after he was accused of having sex with a 14-year-old Mathayom 2 (Grade 8) student at his school.
Nathaphop has been transferred to an inactive post as a result of the scandal. However, he was not suspended or downgraded and is receiving regular pay.
The Ministry of Education said the investigation of his disciplinary probe will be completed in 180 days, he said.
The sex scandal was exposed when angry local residents and members of the school committee released copies of Line chat messages on the girl’s mobile phone.
In the messages, Nathaphop addressed the girl as “darling” and “dear wife”. Local residents also saw him out with the girl on several occasions.
The case erupted over a week ago after details of the Line chat between the director and one of underage student was leaked.
Both used intimate terms.
The director used the term “wife” to refer to the 14-year old girl, one of his students, while the minor used the term “thee rak” or darling for him.
Afterwards, other parents contacted police after their children complained of being harassed by the director.
A girl, 13, was taken by her mother last Saturday (Jan 27) to file a complaint against Nathaphop.
Her mother told police that Nathaphop offered her daughter a ride before the New Year holidays.
While she was in the car, he allegedly began touching her hands, arms and legs and tried to persuade her to have sex with him, but the girl refused.
Meanwhile, the 14-year-old student at the centre of the sexual abuse allegations will be transferred to a new school and might need to be sent to a mental rehabilitation program and will be asked to provide a statement to investigators.
Teachers in the province have asked the Ministry of Education to fire the embattled director, who has been transferred between various schools.
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